Serbian president says new gas deal agreed with Russia

Serbian president says new gas deal agreed with Russia
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced the deal during a visit to the Republic Directorate for Commodity Reserves warehouse. /
By bne IntelliNews May 30, 2022

Serbian President Aleksander Vucic said on May 29 that he has agreed the main elements of Serbia’s new gas deal with Russia during a “very good conversation” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Vucic did not disclose many details of the deal, but said it is “very favourable for Serbia”, a Serbian government statement said. Serbia has been in talks on a new gas supply deal with Russia’s Gazprom, at a time when other European countries are urgently looking to end their dependence on Russian gas.

“We will sign a contract for three years, the formula will remain the same, the price will be very favourable and it remains to reach an agreement on the quantity in talks with Gazprom,” Vucic said.

“If we realise all this, we will have a safe winter when it comes to gas supply, and depending on additional talks, we will know the price. At this moment, it is almost three times less than everyone else in Europe will pay,” the Serbian president added.

The Kremlin also confirmed that Putin had agreed to continue to supply Serbia with uninterrupted natural gas.

Serbia has so far refused to impose sanctions on its old ally Russia following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, despite facing pressure to join the EU and fellow EU candidate countries in doing so. 

In November 2021, Serbia agreed with Russia to extend its previous long-term gas supply contract for six months. That left Serbia importing Russian gas at a considerably lower price than other countries from the Central and Southeast Europe region. 

The call between Putin and Vucic also covered the the situation in Ukraine and developments around Kosovo. 

“The parties continued to exchange opinions on a number of international issues: the situation in Ukraine and the developments around Kosovo,” the Kremlin press office said in a statement.

Both presidents reaffirmed “their mutual determination to consistently bolster Russia-Serbia strategic partnership based on traditional ties of the peoples of the two countries,” the statement reads.

Vucic also commented on May 29 on the food and energy security in Serbia during a visit to the Republic Directorate for Commodity Reserves warehouse.

The Serbian president said that Serbia has sufficient quantities of basic foodstuffs and that the commodity reserves are full. The coming months will be used to secure additional quantities of energy and food before autumn and winter, he added, warning that the end of the year “will be difficult in terms of food and energy”. 

“It is of crucial importance for us to provide sufficient quantities of energy, and we will start building new storage facilities for diesel and crude oil, for which we need a year and a half,” said Vucic, according to the Serbian government statement. 

The president waned that it “will not be easy” to provide sufficient quantities of coal and fuel oil if the war in Ukraine continues, while the world also faces a grain crisis, resulting from both the war and droughts in India and Argentina.